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Drug development

Anti-VEGF therapies could have role in treating TB

Anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) therapies could help treat tuberculosis, research finds. In the image, SEM of tuberculosis bacteria.

Source: A. Dowsett, Public Health England / Science Photo Library

Tuberculosis causes nearly 2 million deaths each year

Tuberculosis (TB) causes nearly 2 million deaths each year. A hallmark of the disease is the presence of pulmonary granulomas, which are morphologically similar to solid cancerous tumours, featuring a hypoxic microenvironment and areas of fibrosis.

New research[1] reported in PNAS suggests that TB granulomas also have a functionally abnormal vasculature with enhanced expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The researchers also showed that bevacizumab, an anti-VEGF drug widely used to treat cancer and eye disease, was able to normalise the granuloma vasculature, improve the delivery of small molecules, and decrease hypoxia in a rabbit model of TB.

The findings provide “a potential avenue to improve delivery and efficacy of current treatment regimens”, the researchers conclude. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20067757

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